Wolfowitz Out. by mattsteinglass
May 18, 2007, 9:16 am
Filed under: Development

Wow, the World Bank’s PR people are really moving fast on this one. I just got the press release, and I haven’t even seen it on Google News yet. Key points: it looks like the bank’s directors agreed to acknowledge that Wolfowitz acted in a way he believed to be ethically appropriate at the time. From the Executive Directors’ statement:

He assured us that he acted ethically and in good faith in what he believed were the best interests of the institution, and we accept that. …At the same time, it is clear from this material that a number of mistakes were made by a number of individuals in handling the matter under consideration, and that the Bank’s systems did not prove robust to the strain under which they were placed.

Wolfowitz, meanwhile, says his resignation is effective June 30, the end of the Bank’s fiscal year. There’s a slightly odd note of defensive self-aggrandizement in his letter. (“I have made many strong appointments both from inside and outside the Bank of which I am personally proud. “) The weirdest part is right at the end:

Finally, I want to say a special word of thanks to the many people inside and outside the Bank who have publicly or privately expressed their support for me and asked me to stay. One of the most moving was a phone call I received from the democratically elected President of a Sub-Saharan African country. It was a private call so I will not quote him by name. But he thanked me for doing so much, in his words, to make the World Bank an institution “that listens, that cares, that understands and that takes action.” If that is true, and if I have “touched the hearts of Africans,” as he told me, then the last two years have been worth it.

There are some slightly weird class and racial notes this statement hits. Let’s just say that producing your African friend as a final defense of your moral worth comes off a bit less classy than Wolfowitz may think it does.


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